Problem Solving Skills is an important skill for both individuals and an organization. In this article let’s learn the art of Problem solving skills with creative techniques.
What is Problem Solving?
Problem solving is the act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and also implementing a solution.
What is a Problem?
- Undesired situation
What is a Creative Problem Solving?
Involves creativity in solving problem
- Structural approach
- Innovative Solutions
- Improve a situation
Problem Solving Quotes
“A problem is a chance for you to do your best.”
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”
– Albert Einstein
“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”
– John Dewey
Problem Solving Skills:
Problem-solving skills help you determine why an issue is happening and how to resolve that issue.
Why is problem-solving skills important?
- Problem-solving is important both to individuals and organizations. It is an essential skill for managers and all senior level roles.
- Those with good problem-solving skills are a valuable and trusted asset in any team – these are the people who think of new ideas, better ways of doing things, make it easier for people to understand things or help save customers time and also money.
- Problem solvers can observe, judge, and act quickly when difficulties arise when they inevitably do.
Problem Solving Examples:
- Correcting a mistake at work, whether it was made by you or someone else
- Overcoming a delay at work through problem solving and communication
- Resolving an issue with a difficult or upset customer
- Overcoming issues related to a limited budget, and still delivering good work through the use of creative problem solving
- Overcoming a scheduling/staffing shortage in the department to still deliver excellent work
- Troubleshooting and resolving technical issues
- Handling and resolving a conflict with a coworker
- Solving any problems related to money, customer billing, accounting and also bookkeeping, etc.
Problem Solving Techniques
Steps in Creative problem-solving process
- Information Gathering
- Problem Definition
- Possible solutions
- Analyzing Possible solutions
- Selecting the best solutions
- Finally Next course of action (Implementing)
Problem Solving Method
STEP 1: Information Gathering
Understanding types of information
Identifying key questions: Who, Why, What, Which, Where?
Methods of gathering information:
STEP 2: Problem Definition:
- Defining the problem
- Where the problem originated
- Present state and the desired state
- Stating and restarting the problem
- Analyzing the problem
Defining the present state and also desired state
- Write a statement
- Concrete details
- Does not contain causes
- Does not contain solutions
Stating & restating the problem
- Emphasize different words
- Replace a word in the statement
- Remove opinionated words
- Draw a picture of the problem
Analyzing the problem
- What – Where -When
- Magnitude of the problem
- Writing problem statement
Group discussion to produce ideas or solve problems
What is Brainstorming?
Brainstorming is a method of generating ideas and sharing knowledge to solve a particular commercial or technical problem
Preparing for Brainstorming
Identifying mental blocks:
- Communication difficulties
Removing mental blocks:
- Attitude adjustments
- Emotional blocks
- Break the rules
- Imagination and feelings
- Encourage creativity
- Change your perspective
- Go outside
- Breathe deeply
- Use a journal
Brainstorming in Healthcare:
Medical Practitioners and Healthcare organizations heavily use charts, infographics, brainstorm, and mind mapping diagrams to convey essential information and guidelines for awareness or exchanging creative concepts. This template about Vitamin Deficiency Diseases can be easy to project for general people than an NCBI report, isn’t it!
Brainstorming for Students
Brainstorming makes it easier to solve problems and generate ideas. Students and professionals use this method to logically organize information and create a framework for writing, making reports, comparing ideas and also presentations. Brainstorming examples for students improve their reading/writing skills and help them develop critical thinking. It helps students generate and organize their ideas to solve their problems creatively. Students from primary to high schools can use these templates for brainstorming.
STEP 3: Generating Solutions
- As many as possible ideas
- Defer judgement
- Wildest ideas (Crazy ideas)
- Piggybacking (Use early ideas & alternative)
Brain writing & Mind Mapping
- It is done along with others
- In silence
- Draw Nine squares
- Fill square with ideas
- It is done alone
- Write one Idea in the Center of paper
- List ideas around the main idea
Dunker Diagrams: It is method of refining problem
- Generate solution
- Functional solution
- Specific solution
The Six thinking hats:
- White hat – Facts & information
- Yellow hat – Positive judgement
- Black hat- Critical judgement
- Green hat – The Big picture
- Red hat – Feelings & emotions
The blink method:
- Information overload
- Limited information can work
- Unconscious thought
STEP 4: Analyzing Solution
Timing – Is the problem urgent?
Trend – What direction is the problem heading?
Impact – Is the problem serious?
Analyzing Wants needs:
- Must be clear
- Score each item
- Order of preference
Using Cost/Benefit analysis: (For example replacing man with machine)
- Include all benefits
- Include all costs
- Uncover hidden cost & benefits
STEP 5: Selecting a Solution:
Doing a final analysis
- Each potential solution – Advantage & Disadvantage
- Short &Long term
Paired comparison analysis: Ranking solution & top one is selected
Analyzing potential problems
- Think forward
- Be flexible
STEP 6: Planning your next step:
- Identifying tasks
- Identifying resources. Resources – Time, Personnel, Equipment’s, Money, Information
- Implementing, Evaluating & Adapting
Leaders may be called upon to direct others to implement the solution, “sell” the solution, or facilitate the implementation with the help of others. Involving others in the implementation is an effective way to gain buy-in and support and also minimize resistance to subsequent changes.
Regardless of how the solution is rolled out, feedback channels should be built into the implementation. This allows for continuous monitoring and testing of actual events against expectations. Problem solving, and the techniques used to gain clarity, are most effective if the solution remains in place and is updated to respond to future changes.
Recording Lessons learned: Invite key members for meeting
Planning the follow up meeting
- Have an agenda – Invite all key members
- Meeting arrangements – Location & time
- Recognize each person
- Celebrate what went well
The 8D Problem Solving:
- 8D problem solving process is a detailed, team oriented approach to solving critical problems in the production process. The goals of this method are to find the root cause of a problem, develop containment actions to protect customers and also take corrective action to prevent similar problems in the future.
- The eight disciplines (8D) model approach typically employed by quality engineers or other professionals, and is most commonly used by the automotive industry but has also been successfully applied in healthcare, retail, finance, government, and manufacturing.
Problem Solving in Math
What is problem solving in math?
The importance of problem-solving in learning mathematics comes from the belief that mathematics is primarily about reasoning, not memorization.
Problem-solving allows students to develop understanding and explain the processes used to arrive at solutions, rather than remembering and applying a set of procedures.
It is through problem-solving that students develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts, become more engaged, and appreciate the relevance and usefulness of mathematics (Wu and Zhang 2006). Problem-solving in mathematics supports the development of:
- The ability to think creatively, critically, and logically
- The ability to structure and organize
- The ability to process information
- Enjoyment of an intellectual challenge
- The skills to solve problems that help them to investigate and also understand the world
What are the steps of problem solving in math?
Four Stages of Problem Solving
- Understand and explore the problem.
- Find a strategy.
- Use the strategy to solve the problem.
- Look back and reflect on the solution.
What is the main task of a problem solving agent?
Problem-solving agent in Artificial Intelligence is goal-based agents that focus on goals, is one embodiment of a group of algorithms, and techniques to solve a well-defined problem in the area of Artificial Intelligence
Thus, by following and practicing the above techniques anybody can develop Problem Solving Skills
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